Biden Burns Rubber In Ford’s EV F-150 Lightning

By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer

Yesterday, Joe Biden visited a Ford Motor electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing plant in Michigan, where he tested the new 2023 F-150 Lightning. The car will be built by United Auto Workers members.  President Biden has aligned himself with unions and is working to pick up votes for his multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure package, the American Jobs Plan. Biden met up with Ford executives and employees — including Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and CEO Jim Farley and UAW President Rory Gamble — on a road trip focusing on several aspects of EVs.  Meanwhile, back in D.C., while Biden toured the plant, a team from the White House went to the Hill to have another round of talks on the bill, but appear to have stalled out

Why this Matters:  The Ford manufacturing plant represents a sustainable future of good-paying union jobs in America, which represents the heart of Biden’s American Jobs Plan. The plan entails building 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations and providing consumers rebates and tax incentives to promote electric vehicle manufacturing in the United States and the purchasing of electric cars. The private sector is taking action as well — General Motors will stop selling their gas-powered cars by 2035, and Ford and other car companies have also decided to accelerate electric vehicle production.

Competing With China

Researchers at CSIS have predicted that if China takes too much of a lead in the electric vehicle market, the U.S won’t be able to compete. The Chinese government is already ahead, having invested $60 billion into electric vehicles before the pandemic, and is increasing electric vehicles from 5% of the market to 25% in the next five years.  “Right now, China is leading in this race, make no bones about it,” Biden said about the production of electric vehicles. “They will not win this race. We can’t let them.”

Biden’s plan to invest in electric vehicle charging stations and to purchase electric vehicles for government fleets will also help jumpstart new manufacturing jobs in Detroit, and prevent those jobs from moving overseas. “We need to be intentional about making sure that we are keeping the supply chain here in the U.S., that we’re going to build batteries here in the United States of America, with good-paying union jobs,” Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan said in comments before the president’s visit. 

Keeping Pollution in Check

Michigan has some of the worst rates of asthma in the country, aggravated by the pollution of auto manufacturing. This has had particularly dire effects on communities of color — the most polluted ZIP code in Michigan, 48217, is 81% Black, and four of the five most polluting refineries in Michigan are within five miles of that ZIP code. Wayne County, Michigan, has seen 70 deaths each year from pollution

Elizabeth Hauptman, the Michigan field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force, released this statement: My son has asthma, and his disease is made worse by air pollution. Because of him, I am celebrating the fact that the nation’s best-selling pick-up truck is going electric. This is going to help my son breathe easier.”

U.S. PIRG’s environment campaigns director Matt Casale echoed the importance of this action in a statement: “President Biden’s trip to Ford’s electric vehicle plant in Michigan today isn’t just symbolic. The 500,000 charging stations and electric vehicle incentives, as well as his proposed investment in electric school and transit buses, can help usher in a new era in transportation technology. We need Congress to act to ensure that cleaner electric vehicles become the norm and the internal combustion engine goes the way of other obsolete 20th-century technology, like rotary phones and cassette tapes.”

“The future of the auto industry is electric. There’s no turning back,” Biden said in remarks from the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. 

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